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Iraq's Top Shi'ite Cleric Urges Government To Pursue Reforms

Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric has urged the government to press ahead with reforms and fighting corruption.

In a sermon delivered by a representative on August 21, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani urged the government to continue the reforms and swiftly go after the "big thieves of public funds."

But he cautioned against doing so at the expense of the fight against the Islamic State group, which is holding on to large swaths of Iraqi territory.

Hours after the sermon in the holy city of Karbala, thousands rallied in Baghdad and a string of other cities to press demands for reforms, better services, and an end to corruption.

Baghdad's rally attracted up to 10,000, many waving Iraqi flags and chanting the national anthem.

The rallies in the southern city of Basra, in Karbala and Najaf, also south of the Iraqi capital, were smaller.

Based on reporting by AP

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